Tagged With brief

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You're a busy person, with a button-up career gig that takes up most of your waking hours. So when you clock out, you don't have time to put in all the work to get into party mode. What you need is a button—a party button—to take you from straight-laced to party in a matter of seconds. The emergency party button, activated by turning a key and pressing a big red button, does exactly that. After dimming the overhead lights, the party button turns on the party lights, turns up the music, and fires up the fog machine. Hit the jump for a video of the party button in action.

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US-centric: Now you can truly see why our commenters dubbed Python the programming language that "can do anything." One intrepid (and hungry) hacker, possibly named Nick Jensen, put together a small script that tracks Domino's Pizza orders from phone call to doorbell ring. Download and launch the script (with instructions at the link), plug in your phone number, and you don't have to get up until that cheese-covered saucer is at the door. It's just another true sign of how life-changing the command line can really be. Thanks, HowToGeek!

dominos.py

Predicting the future is near impossible -- but that doesn‘t stop us all from having a red hot go. Human beings have been predicting the future since the beginning of history and the results range from the hilarious to the downright uncanny.

One thing all future predictions have in common: they‘re rooted in our current understanding of how the world works. It‘s difficult to escape that mindset. We have no idea how technology will evolve, so our ideas are connected to the technology of today.

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US-centric: Firefox with Greasemonkey only: Two of the Lifehacker editors may reside on the West coast of the US, but a lot of the US readers are on Eastern time, and that means you'd probably like to see our posts timestamped that way. Now you can—with a Greasemonkey user script I just threw together. With Greasemonkey installed, using Firefox, install the Lifehacker on Eastern Time user script.

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US-centric: Misplaced your cell phone around the house and don't have another phone on hand to call it up to locate it? Give your number to web site PhoneMyPhone and they'll instantly ring you up. Aside from instant calling to locate your phone, PhoneMyPhone will also schedule phone calls at specific times, similar to previously mentioned Popularity Dialer, to get you out of that boring meeting or awful date if you need it. As for sounding off the ring when you misplace your phone—it may not get a pizza to your door like Google Maps used to, but the easy-to-remember PhoneMyPhone should ensure a quick recovery from the recesses of your couch cushions. Thanks David!

PhoneMyPhone

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US-centric: Got a product you want to find for a steal, but not enough time to run through Fatwallet, Slickdeals, BensBargains, or any other of the deep-discount sites? Deal aggregator Combyo gives you results on any product, filtered by date, source, or category, and lets you set email price alerts for anything that's just not cheap enough yet. It's fairly similar in purpose to previously-mentioned Dealighted, but the interface is a lot cleaner and easier to run through (Original Dealighted post).

Combyo

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US-centric: Our gadget-obsessed brothers at Gizmodo report that many AT&T hotspots—including Starbucks and Barnes and Noble—have started offering free Wi-Fi access to iPhone users. With a little ingenuity, the same free Wi-Fi access can be granted to your laptop. Using it from your iPhone, you just connect to the hotspot and give the site your iPhone number. To get the same access on your laptop, the key is to fool the hotspot into thinking your browser is still an iPhone. Here's how:

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US-centric: The food experts at Health magazine have scoured the menus at popular restaurant chains in search of the healthiest foods on the menu, rounding up several healthy menu options at otherwise unhealthy chains. For example, next time you find yourself staring down your fork at a never-ending pasta bowl at Olive Garden, you could opt instead for the low-fat Capellini Pomodoro (644 calories, 14 grams of fat) or the Venetian Apricot Chicken (448 calories, 11 grams of fat). Aside from the Olive Garden, the article runs down and handful of other chain favourites like Denny's, Ruby Tuesday, and P.F. Chang's. We've already covered five fast-food chains you can feel good about, but Health magazine's list offers a few healthy alternatives for sit-down fare. Got your own favourite low-calorie dish at a national chain? Let's hear about it in the comments.

Health magazine names top chain restaurant fare

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US-centric: Web site Shop It To Me scours the internet for sales on brands you love and sends an email digest of the latest deals. When you sign up, you tell the site exactly what to watch for. You can watch for specifically men's or women's clothing, favourite brands, and even the types of clothing you want to monitor (shoes, swimwear, etc.) in your sizes. Once you sign up, you tell Shop It To Me how often you want the email digest of sales, give it your email address and zip code (so it can watch for local sales), and you're done. The site's biggest drawback is that it's all email-based, so you can't check up on your sale watches whenever you want, but it still looks like a service that may be able to save you some cash as you start to fill out your summer wardrobe.

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Before you head out on the town tonight in New York City, find out where to get your thirsty hands on your favourite hard-to-find beer at BeerMenus.com. This menu search site just launched with over 150 beer menus, which include over 1200 beers. Browse by neighbourhood, brew, or bar to get a beer menu that lists price (by bottle and tap), alcohol content, and brewery, plus a map of the location, web site, hours, and phone number. BeerMenus.com is New York only (so far?) and isn't yet comprehensive in its coverage there, but it's off to a great start for beer-lovers in the Big Apple.

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US-centric: No doubt you already have a go-to tool for tracking your packages across the country, but weblog Digital Inspiration highlights a quick and simple tip for getting up-to-the date tracking info straight from the source: just email the shipping company. For example, send a blank-subject email with tracking numbers in the body to [email protected] or [email protected], and a few seconds later, you'll have a response with the latest status of your package. We've covered several tools for tracking your packages in the past, but this technique might come in particularly handy when you've got the tracking number in your inbox and you want a quick status update, particularly from a cell phone.

Know the Current Location of your FedEx or UPS Shipments Via Email

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US-centric: Health web site Diet.com's Nutrition on the Go service provides nutritional values for food items on popular restaurant menus via a simple text message. To use it, just text the name of the restaurant and the menu item you're looking for to DIET1 (34381)—for example, "mcdonalds southwest chicken salad." Diet.com will text you back with the nutritional values of your item, namely calories, fat, carbs, and protein. Granted, most restaurants (fast food, at least) should have that information available, but if you want a quick look-up in the drive-through or you don't want to be the one who makes employees blow the dust off the nutritional info, Nutrition on the Go seems like a service worth adding to your contacts.

Nutrition on the Go - diet1 (34381)

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US-centric: Web site FreeShipping.org rounds up free shipping coupons to over 600 stores, helping you save cash on your next online purchase. Similar to previously mentioned Free Shipping On, FreeShipping.org appears to have a slightly broader reach and better navigation. The two sites also appear to showcase slightly different coupons for some sites, so both might be worth a look before you check out and pay for shipping. Alternately, if Amazon is your online retailer of choice, the Amazon Filler Item Finder is a must-bookmark site for getting to free shipping on your Amazon purchases.

FreeShipping.org

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US-centric: Hot on the heels of Windows Live Maps' traffic-based directions, Google Maps unleashes its own traffic predictions. To use it, just click the Traffic button on the top of a map and then click the change link to switch between live traffic conditions and traffic predictions. The predictions are based on past traffic at those times, similar to Windows Live Maps, but the option to choose your travel time and get predictions based on when you're heading out put Google Maps' traffic predictions one up on Windows Live Maps.

Google Maps

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Whether trying to win bidders on eBay or attract eyeballs on a tutorial or craft site, the best way to stand out is with an attractive, detail-showing picture. Photography tutorial site Photojojo offers a wealth of tips for your camera, your staging, and other things to keep in mind while trying to represent your goods. Two bits of advice many commerce-minded shooters should heed:

For small items such as jewelry, you can use more interesting backgrounds. Gemmafactrix uses vintage books and industrial surfaces to show off her jewelry on Etsy, and it works great. Wood, paper, cloth and metal can all add a little something to your images. For tutorials and larger items like clothing, you'll have to pull back to get everything in the shot. Make sure the rest of your studio/ apartment/ mobile command unit isn't visible in the shot. Set up by a blank wall and use it as a backdrop.

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Web marketer and migraine sufferer Scott Clark is tracking all the daily variables—food, environment, activity, and the like—that surround his attacks with a migraine diary, and he's found text-to-speech services like Jott (original post) are the best hassle-free tool for the job. Not only will Jott (or ReQall or most similar systems) automatically record the date and time of the entries, but it's always accessible by cell phone, and one can create a dedicated "inbox" for migraines to separate the diary from productivity-related uses. For anyone looking to track a diet, health issue, or other things that happen away from the desk, it's worth looking into. Photo by robtxgal.

Migraine Diary Creation using Jott

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US-centric: Coupons—they're never around when you get that sudden urge to splurge on electronics. Not so with a 10-percent-off printable discount at Best Buy, which is posted as an image at a U.S. Postal Service "Mover's Guide" site with an easily-anticipated URL. Tech blog CyberNet points out that the coupon can be found by slotting the appropriate month and year in, so this month's coupon, for example, is:

https://moversguide.usps.com/img/coupon/bestbuy/200804_clientarea.gif

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US-centric: Compare mobile phone plans and find the perfect plan to fit your usage needs at web site BillShrink. Just enter some information about how you use your phone along with your current monthly bills, and BillShrink will offer you an alternative plan that could save you a tonne of cash. Currently BillShrink is focused on mobile plans only, but they appear to be working towards offering more comparisons for cable and internet bills in the future. BillShrink doesn't take phone availability into account, so if you want an iPhone, for example, you're stuck with AT&T (unless you unlock it). Let's hear if BillShrink helped you find a better plan in the comments.

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US-centric: Windows Live Maps has added a new feature called Clearflow, which suggests routes based on traffic conditions with the intention of getting you where you need to go quickly and with a minimum of traffic congestion. Rather than suggesting routes based solely on real-time data, Clearflow also factors in time of day, weather, and even things like nearby sporting events likely to cause congestion. I've been testing it on some local routes, and while I'm not sure if its suggestions are accurate, I can say that it does drastically change its suggestions when I tick the "Choose route based on traffic" option. The Clearflow feature is available in 72 cities starting today, so if you give it a try, let's hear what kind of results you're seeing in the comments.

Live Search Maps

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US-centric: Newly-launched travel site Delaycast is a perfect complement to the similarly statistical-minded Farecast, saving you time instead of money by providing estimates on how many minutes your flight will likely be delayed. Enter the airport you're flying from and to, at what date and time range, and Delaycast analyses delay data from airlines and airports to give you the most likely scenario—the site owners state they're "within 15 minutes 80-90% of the time," and expect the predictions to get better over time. The chart above predicts a flight from New York's JFK to San Diego International, 9-10 a.m. on April 18, and the "90%" column provides the confidence interval range for the prediction for the stat geeks among us. If nothing else, Delaycast helps you figure out just how much reading or battery power you'll need once you're stuck beyond security, waiting to lift off.